Today was the one week anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Wenchuan. Latest statistics show that there are 32,477 confirmed dead, 9,500 confirmed buried under rubble; 220,109 injured and 36,563 pulled alive from the debris.
Statistics aside, being in a country that is mourning the loss of so many of its countrymen is a sobering experience. At 2:28 pm local time today, everything in the country was suspended for 3 minutes of silence to remember and mourn this loss. I am in Shanghai at Huawei giving a training, and we planned our class break around this tribute event.
As we approached this time, the class projection monitor was switched over to an atomic clock. At precisely 2:28 pm, all chattering stopped and, as one, the class of 30+ employees rose to stand in silence. Some heads were bowed, some not; but all stood in perfect silence for the 3 minutes with hands at their sides.
Our classroom had the windows open to catch the breeze. Everything was silenced for a second – then, every car horn in the city was held down for the 3 minute tribute. They weren’t being honked like when a local team wins a sports event – toot-toot-toot; but instead the sound was one long wail – to-o-o-o-o-o-o-ot. [Later broadcasts on television show that this happened throughout the country simultaneously.] The ache of the people was apparent; National Public Radio has likened it to the aftermath of 9/11, when all Americans were somber for days afterward… this rings true for me.
China will hopefully recover from this loss and move forward. Over $1.6B in relief money is flowing into the area, and the local military is working to get supplies to the small villages and towns as well as to the larger cities. Please keep those who have lost families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Sunday, May 25th – update:
Dead: 55,740; Missing: 24,960; Injured 292,481; 11.36M evacuated; $3.55B received